OLD TOWN — Old Town's newest fitness studio features workouts ranging from those taught to Special Forces units in the Army to real-world self-defense classes.
A small studio on Wells Street in Old Town, dhFIT, opened three weeks ago, and its 31-year-old owner is excited.
David Hardin, who grew up on the South Side and spent the last 14 years doing personal training, finally has a gym to call his own.
So far the studio, 1500 N. Wells St., is offering a classes on fitness fundamentals, a North Avenue Beach boot camp, a 30-minute quick fat burn and an intu-flow yoga class that mixes vinyasa yoga and tai chi.
"There's nothing like it here," Hardin said. "It's the heart of Old Town."
Most of the clients at dhFIT took part in Hardin's North Avenue Beach boot camp last summer, but he expects to gain new members as he introduces more classes in the near future.
He plans to add Krav Maga, a self-defense class that will include methods taught to Israeli military members, and an Olympic-style workout involving hanging rings and parallel bars.
It's also survival, according to Hardin.
"We will teach you how to gouge the eyes out," he said. "If a guy's coming to attack you, to rape you or kill you, there's no rules."
By the end of the eight-week self-defense class, a final test will involve a participant standing in the middle of the room with his or her eyes closed surrounded by a ring of people.
Simulated attacks will come from all around the participant.
"We don't just teach the physical aspect [of self-defense], we teach the mental and emotional as well," Hardin said. "We are preparing you for the real world."
Another extreme class that dhFIT will soon offer will be a TACFIT workout featuring high-intensity interval training.
"It's the best of the best. Now we are bringing it to the rest of the population," Hardin said.
For now, the studio is a work in progress as Hardin waits for permits to build a juice bar in the lobby and for Chicago artist Anna Dominguez to create a mural from tape inside the building.